CARBONDALE, Ill. (KFVS) – One Heartland city is looking to add a permanent stage for local musicians and performers.
The City of Carbondale wants to put what they call the “Entertainment and Event Plaza” in Downtown Carbondale.
“It’s going to be a game changer, not only for that site, and not only for the music industry and entertainment industry downtown, but for downtown,” said Steven Mitchell, economic development director for the City of Carbondale.
An empty field currently sits at the corner of Walnut and Washington Street.
During warmer months, the city sometimes turns that into a pop-up concert venue, but now the city is looking at turning it into a permanent venue.
“We have worked with a group of local musicians, promoters, sound technicians and a local architect to help us design some sketches for a proposed stage,” said Mitchell.
The city applied for a grant through Illinois’ Rebuild Main Street Program.
“We’re going to be doing this in phases, phase 1, which is what this grant application is for, is a $2 Million and a $2.5 million project. So the city of Carbondale would be responsible for that $500,000 matching fund component,” said Mitchell.
The city completed its application 2 weeks ago.
According to Mitchell, the city should find out within 90 days if it’ll receive funding.
One group that organizes concerts in Carbondale is excited about the project
“This venue, as it stands now, has been an opportunity for us to collaborate with the city to bring more concerts downtown. And having a permanent stage and more of a way to facilitate those is great for us,” said Meghan Cole, executive director for Carbondale Main Street.
Cole said this type of venue would be a first of its kind in the city.
“I hope it would bring more traffic downtown. Over 5 years, we’ve drawn over 20,000 people concerts that we’ve held in that venue. That can’t hurt a business to have that kind of foot traffic,” she said.
The venue would be used for more than just music.
“It’s a multipurpose venue. And it’ll be able to protect those from the weather, there will be storage, it’s really a professionally designed structure that we’re really excited about,” Mitchell explained.
Once the project is set in stone, Mitchell said the construction process would take between 18-20 months.
He said the venue will be equipped to hold around 7,500 people.
A second phase will include more upgrades.
“The second phase is going to include an acoustic wall to block the railroad noise from the venue,” Mitchell described. “It’s going to include better accessible seating and a whole lot of other, and as well as a market covered pavilion with permanent restrooms.”
Mitchell also goes on to say the stage is expected to be a 50-foot wide stage and about 40 feet deep.
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